Institutional Aggression Evaluation

  • Created by: HarveyMac
  • Created on: 29-03-15 16:02
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  • Institution Aggression
    • (+) The Importation Model
      • Individual factors such  as age, education level and race in prison and society support the importation model.
        • Data collected from 58 US prisons and found that black inmates had higher rates of violent behaviour but lower rates of alcohol-related and drug-related misconduct than white inmates.
          • These patterns run parallel to those found in US society.
            • Because parallels have been found, it suggests that people take their social histories with them when they enter prison, supporting the importation model.
    • (+) Deprivation model; research support.
      • Found that overcrowding lack of privacy and lack of meaningful activity all significantly influence peer violence.
        • This therefore supports the deprivation model as it shows how situational factors to do with a prison can effect aggression.
      • (-) However unreliable findings.
        • Research in Psychiatric institutions found that increased personal space failed to decrease the level of violence among prisoners.
    • (+) Hazing - social context
      • Found that hazing is also used to establish dominance in institutions other than colleges.
        • Found that in prisons, domination of the weak was seen by inmates as essential to maintaining status, with passive behaviour generally being interpreted as weakness.
          • Therefore, because hazing can be seen in multiple contexts, the validity of the explanation is increased.
    • (-) Obedience to Authority
      • Rejection of idea that obedience to authority was sufficient to explain the behaviour of the Holocaust.
        • Argued that Milgrams idea is monocausal (ignores other possible causes) and simply does not match the historical record.
          • Suggested that actually the main causal factor in the atrocities was a form on anti-Semitism so deeply entrenched in the German people that they implicitly condoned the elimination of millions of innocent Jews.
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    • Problems of definition
      • Therefore methodological and ethical issues of investigation.
      • The study of institutional aggression creates special problems for the researcher.
        • In many studies, victims of hazing reject researchers definition of it as aggressive.
          • Similarly, although dehumanisation appears to be a common phenomena, it's hard to empirically investigate.
            • Due to the methodological issues of investigation in institutional aggression research, it can be hard to ensure studies are testing what they set out to test, therefore affecting internal validity.
              • Therefore such studies do not provide good evidence to support explanations of aggression.
            • Protection from harm issues with studying victims as may become distressed recalling aggression.
    • Real world application
      • We can use insights into dehumanisation to explain a fairly recent social phenomenon - violence against foreign refugees or asylum seekers.
        • Recent research suggests that personality may play an important role in this respect.
          • Social dominance orientation is a personality variable which predicts social and political attitudes. People who are high in SDO endorse a social hierarchy and inter-group inequality, and see the world as a 'competitive jungle'.
            • Been demonstrated that individuals high in SDO have a tendency to dehumanise outgroup members, and in particular foreign refugees and asylum seekers.
              • These negative attitudes become rationalised through 'legitimising myths' which indicate to the high SDO individual that these groups deserve our hostility because they are somehow less human than others.


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